The "English" and "Scottish" of the title notwithstanding it was an international piece of research with. At Harvard "Frank" (nicknamed "Stubby" on account of his short stature) excelled in all classes and also read widely outside his studies for his own pleasure. Concerned as he thus so greatly was with rhetoric oratory and the motives of those mental disciplines Child was inevitably drawn into pondering the essential differences between speech and writing and to searching for the origins of thoughtful expression in English.
Child was Boylston professor of rhetoric and oratory at Harvard University where he produced influential editions of English poetry. It was during this time that he began work on the Child Ballads.